Jan 16, 2012

Azure Connect

Using Windows “Azure Connect” - a service from the Windows Azure platform – one can establish a protected network connection between enterprise computers and the cloud roles (E2C). This virtual IPsec network allows for:

  • easier migration of tiers of an applications to the cloud
  • tunnel firewalls, proxies, NATs
  • hybrid (cloud to on-premise) apps
  • various higher-level communication protocols
  • apps where the protocol might change
  • have high number of communicating endpoints
  • domain joins (some ActiveDirectory; logins)
  • remote administration, debugging and troubleshooting
  • DNS
  • etc.

Setting up Connect is a 3 step process. There is a tutorial showing all the details.

1. Get an activation token from the Azure portal and configure your Azure roles to use it.



Copy the token into your role’s properties / virtual network settings


Now you publish your Azure roles to the staging or production environment in the cloud. Wait until the service is ready and check that it appears in the portals “Virtual network” –> “Groups and Roles” and “Activated Endpoints”.

2. Enable local machines to connect to roles in the cloud. Install the Connect Agent on local machines. Copy the link URL to a browser, download the configured executable and run it. A system tray icon like the following should appear


3. Pair the local machines and Azure roles in a “Group” (network policy). In the portal click Create Group


The system tray icon should change to connected now.

Please note that ping will not work until you enable it in your role using a startup task script. From my limited home network I experienced some significant (first-hit) network delays

Pinging RD00155D3A622D [2a01:111:f102:121:858:cf20:a9dd:5639] with 32 bytes of data:
Reply from 2a01:111:f102:121:858:cf20:a9dd:5639: time=299ms
Reply from 2a01:111:f102:121:858:cf20:a9dd:5639: time=258ms
Reply from 2a01:111:f102:121:858:cf20:a9dd:5639: time=359ms
Reply from 2a01:111:f102:121:858:cf20:a9dd:5639: time=368ms

Ping statistics for 2a01:111:f102:121:858:cf20:a9dd:5639:
Packets: Sent = 4, Received = 4, Lost = 0 (0% loss),
Approximate round trip times in milli-seconds:
    Minimum = 258ms, Maximum = 368ms, Average = 321ms

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